Cantwell Announces $10.6 Million Federal Grant for Northwest Seaport Alliance

Grant will support infrastructure improvements at Port of Seattleā€™s Terminal 5

EDMONDS, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced the Northwest Seaport Alliance will receive $10,687,333 from the United States Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) for infrastructure modernization and access improvements at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. Cantwell wrote a letter of support for the grant and co-authored the legislation that reauthorized the grant program in 2019.

Terminal 5 is one of the largest marine terminals on the West Coast and provides rail connections via Union Pacific and BNSF as far inland as the Ohio River Valley. Yet Terminal 5 has been mostly dormant since 2014, when ocean carriers abandoned the terminal due to its inability to serve larger container vessels that are now standard in the global shipping industry. The funding from the PIDP program will help fund modernizations that will allow international container operations to resume and improve the efficiency, safety, and resiliency of terminal operations.

“According to NWSA, the project will double the terminal’s capacity for refrigerated agricultural exports to more than 170,000 containers per year, and repairs to on-dock class 1 rail tracks will restore full capacity to the terminal’s intermodal yard,” Cantwell wrote in her letter of support for the project. “Terminal 5 will also be able to simultaneously serve 18,000-TEU ships, some of the world’s largest container vessels. These new capabilities will enable the NWSA to reduce shipping costs and speed time to market for U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers.”

“NWSA projects these improvements will add 6,600 new direct jobs to the over 20,000 jobs already directly supported by cargo activity at the two seaports,” Cantwell wrote. “Exporters from Washington state and surrounding states including Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Iowa depend on the Northwest Seaport Alliance as their fastest and most cost-effective option for shipping price-sensitive agricultural products. Expanding capacity at NWSA will increase access to international markets for U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.”

Port of Seattle Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair Peter Steinbrueck said: “We are grateful to Senator Cantwell for leading the effort in the Senate to reauthorize the PIDP so that ports will have access to the federal support that is needed to modernize US ports. This is another example of her leadership on freight issues and how it benefits all of us in Washington State, especially as we look to economic recovery during the COVID health crisis.”

Port of Tacoma Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair John McCarthy said: “The Northwest Seaport Alliance thanks Senator Cantwell for her support of this award, which will help to make Terminal 5 a reality. When complete, Terminal 5 will offer tremendous advantages to U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers seeking access to global markets.”

Senator Cantwell coauthored the 2019 legislation that reauthorized MARAD and the PIDP grant program.